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Trinity Anglican Methodist

Primary School

Aiming higher together, every day in every way

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Phonics and Early Reading

In the EYFS and into KS1 at Trinity, we use a variety of approaches to develop early reading comprehension and enjoyment. These include: regular storytelling, singing and rhyming activities to develop phonological awareness, activities to develop GPC (grapheme- phoneme correspondence) recognition, 5 sentence story, Talk 4 Writing etc. These approaches inspire children to want to read, support their acquisition of vocabulary, and develop their imaginative story retelling. Our EYFS staff are highly skilled at extending children’s learning and understanding in the moment through the use of making comments or using expert questioning.


Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussions with the teacher. Our daily practice provides regular opportunities for this to happen through:

  • High quality texts - we have carefully selected a range of high quality and engaging books as a stimulus for learning across the curriculum.
  • Class readers – we have highly valued daily story time which provides an additional opportunity for children to experience a wide range of high-quality picture books, poems and rhymes and to engage in book talk.
  • Children take part in a ‘book vote’ daily where they choose between two stories they would like to read in whole class story time that day. Children are asked to explain why they voted for the story they chose, giving them an opportunity to express their preferences and explain their thinking as well as introducing the British value of democracy.
  • The learning environment – our pupils are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in story through role play, dressing up, retelling of stories using puppets, masks, use of the listening station etc.
  • During 1:1 or group guided reading sessions, our pupils will be taught explicit strategies that support them to understand what they have read, ie: prediction, questioning, clarifying, summarising and activating prior knowledge.
  • Children are offered a breadth of reading experiences that include fiction and non-fiction texts, the latter of which are often related to our topics.

Unlocking Letters and Sounds                   


At Trinity, we use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.


We begin teaching phonics in Nursery where children learn the listening and auditory discrimination skills that encompass Phase 1 of phonics. The teaching of Phase 2 phonics begins in term 1 of Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Our aim is that children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.


In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, children learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.


In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression document linked below.


To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.


Reading Scheme


At Trinity we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.


Phonics screening check


Year 1 pupils are required to take part in a phonics screener check to measure their understanding of phonics. This is a national check that all children in England are required to complete. All pupils are monitored throughout the year and parents/carers are informed about how their child is achieving throughout the year. The check combines a mixture of real and pseudo (nonsense) words which the children have to decode (read). The check takes place at the end of Year One.


Please use the link below to see the materials used in the Phonic Screener Check. These are adapted each year.


Together we inspire, through our Christian values, unique individuals who believe they can achieve more than they ever thought possible in mind, body and spirit. Through nurture and challenge, we provide a firm foundation to enable all to thrive, to lead and serve in their life long journey as local, national and global citizens.